Stop Chasing…if when, why and how?

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

How do we stop the chase? We start it almost from birth. We are motivated to chase development as we enter this world, benchmarked against other babies, toddlers and children until our physicality has reached its peak. The chase then changes lanes to the mental capacity of knowledge as we learn and are tested via “standardized” benchmarks to determine where we sit amongst the pack and which then determines where we head to next; job, tech school, or college. For what? All to steep us for the chase that will begin when standing on our own two feet. The chase to be like others our age or better and long for what others want; regardless of our ability or means. 

This dreadmill of the chase goes on for years; through our twenties, thirties, and into our forties before we are faced with fifty. To most, we hope that it is midlife, but we cannot know. We look at where we are in this moment after 50 years of chasing and find ourselves stopped, facing our new reality and wondering what is next and worse than wondering is why we should, could, or would do anything more.

This leaves us pondering the state of being versus doing. After all, once you consider stopping the chase there is no more doing. So where does that leave us? To be or not to be…that is the next question! The chase exhausts us yet when we stop we do not recover we reconsider. We feel guilty for not chasing. We feel lost on a path so worn that the path is now a hole we have dug ourselves into and you cannot chase if you don’t climb, if you don’t climb does this become the end? 

The real deal is that we spend so many years chasing, climbing ladders, and proving the ground we stand on that when it is time to stop and enjoy the view we can’t see straight. At what point have we put in the time to be absolved of the work and enjoy the reward. There is no sign that appears that says you have now “Arrived”. Arrival is where the chase ends.

Ironic as it may be the chase ends at the start line of a new beginning. It does not require training because the work has been done and now the cruise control can be “set”. The funny thing about cruising is that it does not require anything more than what you have already learned and now have the resources to do; which is to be. You don’t apply the gas and yet you don’t put on the brakes. You cruise. 

So here we sit, those of us at the FINISH LINE of a race well done, trained for, and accomplished. We may have a few medals around our neck even if just for participation. Now is the time to sit back and relish in the reward of all that was accomplished along the way. The learnings, the failures, and most of all the wins only made greater by the embellishment of storytelling. For here is where wisdom begins. We have earned the right of wisdom by stopping the chase. Regardless of the lessons learned, wisdom is all of ours to share for at this point in life there are no benchmarks, tests, or ladders to climb. 

Stop the damn chase. Time to cruise. 

  • When? Now
  • Why? Because you earned it
  • How? Just BE.

Life as I live it — L.

Pain is Pain…diminishing it does not make it disappear

“There’s no hierarchy of pain. Suffering should not be ranked, because pain is not a contest. …by diminishing my problems, I was judging myself and everyone else whose problems I had placed lower down on the hierarchy of pain. You can’t get through your pain by diminishing it.”

Lori Gottlieb “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”

Great quote and thought-provoking indeed. It elicited the following thoughts and questions. Somebody always has it worse and someone else will always have it better. It is not about somebody or someone else it is about you. It is about how you are affected by your life. Does your life serve you? Despite the past are you moving beyond what “was” to what “is”? Is this really about validation? Is it only “real” if someone else acknowledges how bad, how good, or how unremarkable “it” is?

Your normal is all you know and is your baseline for all definitions. My pain is my pain and better not defined as a comparison of yours. So often we diminish what we are going through because someone else has it worse. However, that we are acknowledging that someone else has it worse is again only defined by our own baseline, and in reality not real.

I have had to explore this concept in my life as I attempted to “fix” my own concept of normal, pain, and pleasure. This is the foundation of self-care. There are so many people that do not care for themselves and do not put the work in because they blow it off through the ideal that somebody else always has it worse or that their experience is less than another’s. Ultimately your experience is the only one that matters and diminishing it, pain or pleasure takes something away from you. It robs you of the full experience. I think about this in terms of both sides; perspective is my drug. Come along with me while I go down in “it” for a moment!

Pleasure…

Let’s start with pleasure as it is less “one-upped” than pain. It is simply not as often that someone will take away your pleasure through their own grander experience as it does not serve them to be a braggart as easily as it does to be the victim.

My experiences are not worldly as I have never traveled outside of this country. While I do not know the pleasure of seeing the Louvre or sailing on the Mediterranean, I do know the absolute elation of sitting in front of the ocean, 40 miles outside my door, smelling the salty air, hearing the crashing waves and feeling that all is right with the world. While I have never known the pleasure of owning a million-dollar mansion I know what it feels like to have owned a modest home in the middle of the woods that I have created and adore and respect for all of the things it gives to me. This is a pleasure as I define it and can never be made less for those things that I only know, as better, because of someone else’s “one-up”.

Pain…

Tough as it is to swallow there is indeed someone that always has it worse than you. For the ultimate “worse” is death; or is it? (That is a topic for another blog.) Pain, physically and mentally, seems to be the ultimate test of one-upmanship. I think it can best be told as recited by my husband’s story during a recent “man-trip” with his friends and one “friend of a friend” that was invited to come along that unbeknownst to them was a “one-upper”. After a long day of driving my husband had remarked that his back was hurting and lamented that it was because of previously breaking his back from earlier-in-life “race-day’ injuries. While my husband was in no way attempting to elicit a response other than to lament on his own pain the “one-upper” immediately spoke up and said, “Well, I died!” …to which my husband laughed as if thinking this guy was trying to be funny. He wasn’t. He proceeded to bring photos out of him near-death with tubes running from him. An intensely dramatic response to someone’s simple lament of a backache. While this example is laughable the reality of physical or mental pain is not humorous at all and only made worse by the denial of treatment because you are diminishing your pain as not being as bad as another. Better said a “suck it up” approach. I attempted this approach for many years of my life and finally realized that sucking it up had gotten me to nearly 300 pounds. It was in finally reaching for both the mental and physical help that I needed that I would resolve this pain and live the life I was meant to live all along. Regardless of how bad someone else I knew had it. In truth, it was the idea that I did not have it “as bad” as others or had faired better that I allowed “it” to go on for so many years.

Diminished

I would be remiss to not include the one area of my life that has been affected by all of the one-ups that life has to offer. I have not struggled with pain or pleasure by my definition or yours; the defining moments of my life have always felt diminished by the “norm”. This is truly where growing older has been my therapy. I spent so much of my 20’s and 30’s feeling less-than all of those around me that had gone “off” to college and would speak of the tales of those college days. My college experience was much less about “tales” and far more about “torment”. I would work full-time, raise a child, and study in between it all to earn my education. I would hold back on reciting my alma mater as it would not be as revered as the Ivy League colleges that many of my colleagues had the benefit of attending. The greatest tale of this blog is that somewhere in my 40’s I realized…”Wait…I am sitting in the same boardroom, with the same or better title than “them”. Could it be that my small college education ended me in the same exact place without the sorority stories, without the tales from the dorms and ultimately without the expense of a fancy education? YES!!! It did! It was in this revelation and many more that I would realize that my life experiences were not “less than” and instead come to acknowledge that they were richer, they were grander and they ultimately were unlike anything you could pay for in therapy, education or experience.

I was thrust into this world diminished on the surface but defined on the inside. I would never be a product of my environment. I would never be diminished by the trailer I grew up in, the status of my parent’s dysfunctional relationship, or my teenage choices. I would, however, be defined by all of them proving to myself and anyone that cared to take notice that I was going to be greater because of it, not despite it. These are not one-up stories you tell to the masses, they are pulled out like the gems they are to lift others up that have “assumed” that you and your current state are “more than” theirs. It is in these moments that I revel in the story of “one-undering” someone by motivating them with the idea that “If I can do it you CAN too!” It is the ultimate opposite of “one-upping”.

I have to respect where I am at any moment in time and that means that I acknowledge my pain and my pleasure equally as I define it, I no longer diminish it. I am empathetic by nature and will always listen to others’ stories of worse or better however I will always keep in check that their journey is not mine and my journey is the one I am here to live and define as worth living. I know pain, I know the pleasure it is not learned or defined by any other standard than my own. Own it…I do.

Life as I define it – L.

Balanced…a lesson in boundaries and freedom of choice

I watched a TED Talk featuring Nigel Marsh on “How to make work-life balance work” and thought it was worth sharing as it inspired so many of my own thoughts and opinions on the topic.

Never has there been a time in our world where work and life have collided as millions of us are working from “home”. Gone are the days of punching in and out at the office as the office is now where we wake, where we eat our meals, where we live. It is fair to say that if you didn’t have balance before you are lacking it now…immensely.

As a leader I have preached work-life balance to my team and have worked hard to find it. I absolutely practice what I preach although not perfect I know the foundational points of the TED Talk are true and so I share them and my exponential thoughts on each with you.

  • If you don’t design your life someone else will design it for you and you may not like their idea of balance. #word
  • Never put the quality of your life into the hands of a commercial corporation. (It is not your companies responsibility to provide you balance. It is their responsibility to find the best candidate for the job to get it done efficiently.)
  • We have to be responsible for setting the boundaries we want in our life. #word
  • You have to elongate the time frame beyond a day; approach balance in a balanced way.
  • The small things matter.
  • The smallest investment in the right places can radically transform the quality of your relationships and life.

Six transformational statements, profound. This is what it is really all about. I have succeeded at some of the six and are learning how to solve where I have failed. The point is that I practice, I take a run at each of these on a daily basis.

The responsibility of having freedom is the act of choosing. Then why do we choose and then begrudge that choice? As if we can’t make yet another decision to change courses?

You decide, ultimately. If you don’t want to work in an office, don’t. If you don’t want to work weekends, don’t. If you don’t want to “drink the kool-aid”, don’t. Find what works for you. Don’t begrudge others that DO just because you don’t. You make everyone miserable when you DO what you DON’T want to…you decide for YOU.

It is YOUR life, YOUR journey, make sure you are getting more out of it then it is getting out of you. I give this career advice often. I believe that if you go about work, career or truly any task with this mindset everyone wins. If you are getting out of it what serves you best, you will serve the job better. If you are a slave to the job or task, nothing is achieved. You lose and so does the benefactor.

Last but not least is the idea of balance in your day, week, month…life. Decide what you want it to look like and then execute that vision. Understand that every day will not look the same and allow time to find the equilibrium. Sometimes in attempting to balance we realize that we have to remove from one side or another as all that we want is simply not possible. Again this is where choice is your responsibility. Right-side your ship to allow for smooth sailing.

I am reminded frequently by the wise duo that I call “The Aunts” that we all have the same 24 hours in a day; how we spend it is ours to decide. You will ALWAYS have the time however what you choose to do with it…well that is your responsibility. Own it.

Life as I balance it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 23

Day 23 prompt:

T.D. Jakes notes, “If what you see modeled in front of you is in any way deformed or deranged your concept of normalcy is defined by what you see. It is hard to be what you have not seen.”

If you believe this then how can you change your normal? Can you rise above a level-set of normal that is not modeled but dreamt of?

My answer:

I lived this but so did everyone else because our normal, as defined in our lives, was all we knew and it was only when there was something to compare against that you would be able to know something different. I lived this and have chosen a completely different path than what I knew. The start of what I changed was based on what I was able to identify as in-reach but as I have moved into different paths I have hindsight on what it could have been. While I cannot go backwards I am taking that new information to shape the world of my children and grandchildren.

The first recollection of a variation of normal for me was the idea of college. Both of my parents had attended a community college but never finished and ultimately were not in jobs that were the benefit of a formal education. My mom was a secretary and my dad a construction worker. The irony of my story is that in hindsight I think that I have benefited greatly from their careers as I have insane organization skills, learned by my mother who was the assistant to a CEO for years. As for my father, he is a dreamer which makes him a successful builder, able to bring a customer’s vision to life. It was in that learn of dreaming big that I have been able to manifest a life that I could only dream of one day and realized as a surprise once achieved.

Back to the point of college, it was not something talked about in my home or actively pursued as I was moving through high school. I only learned that it might be a consideration as I saw my high school friends considering their options. Back to the point of “normal”, my circle of friends, that would again define my normal, were in similar families and never did I recall conversations about going away to college. Our options after high school, as I recall, were finding a good job or going to our local community college. Ultimately we have all ended up in great careers however none of it through traditional norms. In some ways, I feel greater pride as our efforts were greater and therefore intentional.

This is a great thought-provoking prompt. I am still learning from other people’s norms and through the internet learning how to employ disciplines and practices into my own life. I am a life-long learner and thrive on learning new things and succeed in making those my own reality. What kind of normal defines your original knowledge of normal versus what you have since created in your own life?

Life as I know it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 17

Day 17 prompt:

How has your normal changed or are you living the life you experienced as a child? Re-creation or Recreation?

The prompt is a long-one this morning so I set the question above and offer the entire prompt here.

  • Tara Westover said, “There is a way you experience life as a child, and then as an adult you have to look back and decide how you are going to think about it”.

My answer:

This prompt is very similar to Day 16 so rather than go through my own experience of changing my life as an adult as a result of not wanting to emulate the life I experienced as a child I would like to expound on some of the thoughts that Tara Westover shared in her interview on Super Soul Sunday. These are the highlights as I recorded them and how I perceive them.

  • There is a way you experience life as a child and then as an adult you have to look back and decide how you are going to think about it.
    • This is all about perspective which is gained when you realize that what you think is “normal” is challenged. For me this occurred as I observed my friends lives and families as a child and teenager.
  • It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.
    • Incredible statement. While I did not experience this negatively, I have observed it in others and I think it occurs when you allow other people’s belief’s about you to matter more than your own beliefs of you.
  • They have to invade your reality and they have to distort it and they have to change how you see yourself and have mind-control.
    • This is the greatest statement and helps me to understand why I am so resolved to let go of the ways in which “she” attempts to victimize me by making me at fault. I know my reality better than anyone else in the world and if that reality makes YOU uncomfortable; well that is about you. #Word
  • That’s my view of it and I am not going to change that to make you more comfortable. 
    • I have fought to get to the place where I am in life, a life that makes sense to me, and I am not willing to compromise those views, perspectives or observations that are most definitive, for me.
  • It’s not a question of whether you love them it’s a question as to whether they belong in your life.
    • I will leave this right here. #Word
  • You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye.
    • Yet another truth that is so simply and so eloquently stated that it needs no more explanation. Yes, I have made those choices and stand behind them as way to protect myself. 
  • I think we do love a great disservice when we make it about control and change.

Tara Westover’s book “Educated” is profound. I highly recommend it as a read that you will have a hard time putting down.

What I know as an adult is that we have all been through the trauma of childhood because regardless of how it is defined it is your normal for the first 18 years and it is only after you are removed that you understand the true meaning and how it has set you up for your future as it will now be defined by you.

Live as I have lived it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 16

Day 16 prompt:

What is your level-set? Why?

The prompt is a long-one this morning so I set the question above and offer the entire prompt here. Admittedly I do not like the way I originally wrote the prompt so I am revising as I rewrite it below. 🙂

  • Everyone’s normal is predicated on their upbringing. There is no “normal”, this is what we all come to realize early in life as we are introduced to people outside of our household. If you come from a wealthy family, your “normal” may already be planned for you, while if you are from a poor family, you may be working to leave that “normal” behind for you and your family.

My answer:

Based on how you were raised, you define your first concept of normal. This quickly becomes what you are used to and when you see examples of normal that our outside of what you “know” you are left with a condition to compare against. These early realizations occur when we are young. I remember realizing that what I knew as “normal” was very different than my friends in the neighborhood and in elementary school. At that point I did not know better from worse, I just knew it was different.

As I have become an adult I have come to realize that what may appear from the outside as a “better normal” is tested as when you look beneath the surface you come to realize that normal is not defined by wealth, health or relationship status. There were many years, especially through my 20’s, that I attempted to hide my “normal” as I felt it made me “less than” those around me. As I continued to evolve as an adult I was fortunate to realize that my childhood experiences served me extremely well in the varying environments I would experience throughout life. I was better equipped than those around me because of the early-experiences in my life.

To answer the specific prompt, “What is your level-set? Why?” My level-set or normal is very different than the way I was raised. This was a normal that was created intentionally as I was determined to live it different. It is hard to change your normal because the very act of changing what is normal in your life requires a path through uncharted territory. I had the courage to do it because I knew that what I experienced early-on was not the life I wanted to live as my “forever”. I knew this because I had the benefit of observing other lives that were more appealing and if I am being honest, less devastating.

I still work on this life that I now consider my normal, daily. It takes a great deal of discipline and sometimes that discipline feels like “force” because it is. I have a great deal of fortitude and summon it often. My weakness is where I am not able to control the environment because I rebel and am hesitant to follow. I revel in controlling my fate, which in itself is an oxymoron because the very definition of “fate” is “the development of events beyond a person’s control“.

This prompt created discord from the moment I read it. I didn’t like the way it was written, I didn’t like what it represented and ultimately it forced me to seriously contemplate. It is when I am pushed into a place that is uncomfortable that I find my reveal. I learn things and ultimately admit things about myself that I may not have readily seen previously. The example of this is in the last paragraph where I actually use the word “rebel” in describing myself. Many years ago when taking a Personality Test it described me as “rebellious” to which I was almost offended. When discussing it with those that had also taken the test I told them that the test was wrong as I was not “rebellious”. They quickly corrected me…ha! Over the years I have also come to realize and own my rebellion.

Rebellious is defined as:

“…showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention.” or “…(of a thing) not easily handled or kept in place.”

Yep…that is me…try to hold me down…but be ready for the fight…rebellious is my level-set/normal.

Life as I have lived it – Miami Gangster

Seeking Normal – Day 11

Day 11 prompt:

How many variations of normal do you have in your life? For example today you may be happy or sad or ill – are they all “normal”?

My answer:

Interesting topic as it may be it about what is YOUR normal and my normal is obsession over diet and exercise and anxiety about things that others don’t even think about. This is MY normal. It is not what I embrace but it is what is true.

My normal makes me crazy as I just want to be free of a mindset that is always counting a calorie and pushing to be more disciplined but I am grateful deep down as it is what keeps me healthy. My normal also overthinks everything all the time. This has its pros and cons. It doesn’t allow for time to relax but it does force change.

I do check for “normal” in other areas of my life as I see conditions recurring I worry that those conditions look, from the outside, to be my normal. In the last year I have had a number of health problems and while I know they are not the norm, I worry that from someone else’s perspective it may appear that I am “not well” as a norm.

Last and worth mentioning is much like noted above in what my normal looks like from the outside, I like to be held accountable to “my normal” and find that when I share my intention, I create accountability to become my new norm. This is important as you decide to change your life. It takes work and time to make a habit a norm but by representing it as your normal; you have already pushed beyond a “want” as now it appears to be a need and so it is.

What is your norm? Be honest. Look from the inside and define normal but more importantly take the time to look from the outside. What does your normal look like from someone else’s perspective?

Life as I live it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 7

Day 7 prompt:

Is your normal the same as someone else’s? Why? How do you separate the expectation? How does someone else’s normal inspire, intimidate or disappoint you?

My answer:

I like this prompt as much of what makes something normal is that it is what everyone else has, does or is. The very act of getting up every morning, going to school or work, coming home having dinner and adhering to a bedtime is “normal” because it is what most people do. That routine is what has set the expectation for normal for most of us. If others don’t do these things that we see as commonplace then they or it is “not normal”.

When we shift the conversation to how someone else’s normal inspires, intimidates or disappoints us it requires the acknowledgement that their normal is NOT ours but we see it as “theirs” because it is something they do routinely. I am inspired by others that create their normal around things that I realize take huge discipline. Waking up at 4 am to get a workout in, is inspiring because it takes discipline beyond what I choose because of comfort-level. Conversely I am disappointed only by those whose normal does not serve them, and those around them, positively. When we see those that are living a life that causes them or others around them “harm” it is disappointing.

I have seen more social media posts in the last weekend about “what is normal” as we were all faced with our first holiday during this pandemic. Easter was not at all what most considered “normal” because we were not supposed to go to church or gather for family dinners. However it is/was still possible to create an alternative holiday that inevitably will create a new normal or a fond memory. We will always look back and remember “that” Easter we were in our homes and not able to get out to do those things that we consider holiday protocol.

For now I hope that as you are exploring this “new normal” that you are finding the parts of it that you appreciate, enjoy or are finding a refreshing change to carry-on with long after life returns to “normal”. This time would be wasted if we did not pay attention to those things that we are learning along this journey.

Life as I live it – L.

I am not the solution…

I am guilty as charged. I cannot look at ANY situation where I am not immediately figuring out a solution. Before asked, as the situation is unfolding or being described, I am solving. Is it a control “thing” is it “servant leadership” or is it a need to be needed? I tend to think it’s a combination of the three. Regardless of which it is, it is not working FOR me, and many times it is not work FOR them either.

There I said it! Admitting you have a problem is the first step…ha! Oh and the irony is that because I have identified it as a “problem” I now have to find a solution! Ha-ha! Let the cycle of solving begin…GO!

I don’t know where this started but I know it has to end. It has to stop because it is exhausting me. I am always giving, giving, giving to the point that I have nothing left. Stretched so thin I end up coming up short on my offerings and leave nothing left for myself. Interesting is that since identifying this issue I have been more observant of my reactions when a problem arises. I am shocked at how fast my brain is solving for others; even more so now that I am forcing myself to hold back the offers.

it is not a “bad” thing but is unnecessary. I find that where I have resources I want to offer them. That is not bad, right? Except that everyone else has resources as well and hence they can find solutions without mine. My examples of solving go from the most mundane to the ridiculous.

  • Yesterday while spending the day with my cousins one of them noted that they had lost the measuring spoon for their coffee machine. Immediately I think “Oh I have a second one that she can have.” She does not need my measuring spoon…and she definitely was not looking for a solution.
  • When going to lunch recently (and many times before) as we approach the counter to order our lunch I invite my friends behind me to order with me; and hence I pay for lunch. My reasoning? To not hold up the line with multiple orders! Really…I am solving for the restaurant?

The examples I offer are minimal compared to the norm of my offerings that do leave me depleted. What I am learning in these greater examples is that “they” will solve for themselves if you let them. This is a fact as I have seen it play out twice in the last month. Where I thought I was the only solution, when I removed myself, the solutions were found and quite frankly they were better than I could have offered. In both cases neither asked me to solve, I volunteered myself and when I was not able to fulfill that offer I was left feeling badly while they found other options; in both cases better options. Those alternative solutions ended up being a much better result for me as well to which I was grateful. This brings about another subject altogether as the reason I was grateful is that if I had been “the solution” for those situations it would have caused measurable sacrifice for me. I am not opposed to sacrificing for those I love or things I value however I don’t reserve sacrificing for those but instead sacrifice for all.

Now that the problem has been identified the solve is mine to take on, for me. I am now holding back from offering solutions immediately to every single things that rises. I am now saying “Thank You” when someone offers me a solution versus fighting back; and I am finding that it is nice to have others do for me. Most importantly I am taking the energy expended on solving for everyone else and redirecting it to solve for myself. What I want matters most to me and I realized through this process that while I was giving to everyone “else” I was coming up short for myself, leaving me dissatisfied.

Ultimately what I know is that if someone needs something from me they will ask and to insert myself is simply not necessary. What is necessary, solving for myself. Living the life I want to live without unnecessary sacrifices.

Life as I see it – L.

inDEPENDENT…a new view

Yesterday I explored the idea of Independence in the patriotic sense and the human condition. 

The “human condition” is defined as:

“the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality” – Wikipedia

As I concluded I came to realize that in all of my self-defining as “fiercely independent”, with the passing of my mom, that I was not nearly as fierce or independent has I had given myself credit.  Yet the other side of this realization is that I am also the last to ask for help, want help or accept help.  I am fortunate that those that are closest to me know this to be my weakness and they simply insert themselves where they know I need them without waiting for my request…that will ultimately never come. 

Today’s thought of the day explores the two sides of this coin and in practice seems like the best compromise for those of us that have a need to not feel reliant but deep inside long for reliance.  I long for people I can count on, I long for partners, I long to be cared for and while I don’t ask, I show the longing I want through my own actions.  I consider myself to be reliable; able to counted on, a great partner and I care for those that I love beyond what they know they need.  (Gary is always reminding me that I am solving for problems that don’t even exist…insert my need to be needed…Thank you David Lao for passing that along!) 

As I choose to explore the “human condition” from the emotional point of view we all need to be cared for, to be a part of something which may trump a theory of independence.  The reality is that part of being independent is to know when to rely on others and how to “deploy your armies”.  I talk about the theory of “deploying your armies” at work with my talented Sales Team all the time; however let’s explore this from a personal point of view. 

  • You first have to know who you can count on.  This requires you to look at your circle and start “closing” it.  When we look at the circle of those that we allow to surround us we have to look at it from a lens of “give and take”.  Inevitably there is an inequality of TAKE in some of those relationships that is not serving us well.  The work here is for us to remove those from that circle.  I am not suggesting that you have to make a PSA that they are being removed from the circle but that you know you are pushing them to an outer circle will be enough of a conscious decision.
  • You are going to be surprised at who is left in that circle as I promise you there are people that you don’t acknowledge as “close” that are inevitably giving more to you than you deserve.  By identifying these people you are then able to serve them better because again they are frequently the ones that you have not acknowledged and therefore are giving more to you then you give back.  It’s a great way to “check” yourself! 
  • Once the circle is closed and YOUR army is identified you can then deploy what you need from each of those soldiers and in turn what you intend to give back. 

Let me give you my greatest example that I am honoring today…

  • My BFF Maria has been in my life since the early 90’s where we met at work.  Maria and I were great friends throughout our time working together as our boys were born months apart and our Latina bond (hers far more obvious than mine) cemented the bond. 
  • When we moved to Central Florida Maria and her family followed us up as Dan, her husband, became my AGM at the hotels we were managing.  They moved five houses down and we became closer as neighbors.
  • As life would have it, the hotel sold and I went on to a new company and Dan took a job back down in SFL separating our families once again.
  • We never lost touch, and would get together a couple of times a year to vacation together always starting again right where we had left off months before but not having daily contact.

FAST FORWARD TO MY SOLDIER and CAPTAIN OF MY CIRCLE:

  • When my mother became ill I would come to know that this relationship was more than a couple of vacations a year.  You see here is how it showed itself:
    • I did not ASK for a thing!  Maria showed up everywhere; regardless of my asking, my need, my want, desire, control…
    • Through phone calls, text messages and checking in with Gary at the very end when my entire world revolved around my mom and I was not able to communicate. 
    • During this year she would come up to visit which became her taking care of me, us, even for a weekend at a time.  She always left us better than she found us despite my fighting with her to NOT do my dishes, NOT cook for us, no, no, no…she simply did not take NO ever!  And for this I cannot ever express enough gratitude as I needed her in those moments more than I could have ever communicated.  I needed to be taken care of, I needed to feel loved, I needed Maria to take control…despite knowing I needed it.
    • The final moment, the one that set in stone my love for Maria FOREVER was at my mom’s service.  I had decided to do the eulogy which I knew would be the most important speaking engagement I would EVER take on.  Again, I knew what I had to do to get up, get it done and then….oh man, I never thought about what might happen when I walked away from that podium…I LOST IT.  As I caught my breath and looked up there was Maria and her boys at my feet, hugging me, loving me.  She didn’t think about it, she didn’t ask for permission, she didn’t worry about the pomp and circumstance of the occasion, she saw her friend in need, in pain and she ran to save her…me…ugh…that moment will NEVER leave me.

I offer you this as my blog today to give further insight to what independence, dependence and reliance can all mean in your life when deployed and truly exercised daily.  You will get the most out of your life, when you can identify the differences as I continue to define daily. 

  • Dependence – the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else.
  • Reliance – dependence on or trust in someone or something
  • Dependence vs. Reliance – reliance is the act of relying on someone or something; trust while dependence is the state of being dependent, of relying upon another.

So for today I am still FIERCELY Independent, with a dependence on those closest to me that I know I can rely on.  #NotAlone #MyMaria